In 2001, the Chestnut Hill Library Freinds decided to spend some of the monies donated by members of the Friends to improve the plantings around the Library building. A committee was formed, and the planning began.
The decision was made to begin at the front of the building, and then tackle the left side, where a path led to the new side entrance, a handicapped entrance to the building, as well as to the CHCA Parking Foundation parking lot at the back.
We engaged Joe Ascenzi, proprietor of Laurel Hill Gardens, a garden center located on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill. The purpose was to support a Chestnut Hill business as well as to have high quality guidance and planting expertise. The Committee worked with Laurel Hill Gardens on the design and selection of plant materials.
The plans were drawn and the project was executed. Work was completed in the front: planting of Vinca in the two beds, and additional planting in the beds at the entrance. Pots were planted at the entrance. Along the left side perennials, shrubs, small trees and grasses were added. Lighting for the side path, ramp and building entrance was also installed.
The Friends established a volunteer garden committee to tend the garden.
The planting was a huge success, as we heard from those who walked by the Library on Germantown Avenue, and entered the library through the front and side entrances.
A few years later, in 2006, we tackled the back and right side of the Library property. We installed a lattice fence to separate the view of the garden from the open parking lot, placed a gazebo for sitting and programs, and created a lovely side garden, giving preference to native plants. Benches have been installed in the front, and the side, and are regularly used by passers-by and library patrons. Major pruning of trees was also completed.
In 2013 the Free Library utilities department removed the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipment visible from the Library lobby, which allowed the planting of a viewing garden. Denis Lucey, garden designer, helped plan and plant that garden, which was completed during the summer months.